On This Day …

20th July, 1851

Original article in The Argus, 8th September, 1851.

John Worley, a bullock driver and Christopher Peters, a hut-keeper, both in the employ of William Barker, the owner of a pastoral run, made a discovery which would change the course of history in Victoria. It was a Sunday, so I suppose they had the day off and must have gone prospecting. Whatever reason brought them to the site, the two men found gold.

At first it was kept quiet. I guess Mr Barker didn’t want hordes of people rushing his land! Yet, John Worley sent a letter to the editor of the Argus in September, announcing the find . By October hundreds of diggers started to arrive and by December there were over 20,000 men working the fields at Mt Alexander (Castlemaine).

Other gold finds in Victoria are recorded before this date, but this was the first of great significance. Apparently in November there were three tons of gold in the Commissioner’s tent, waiting to be transported to Melbourne and thence to England. Imagine the excitement when ships carrying tons of gold arrived in England. A mass exodus! Our immigration boom began.

Gold was soon discovered in Ballarat and Bendigo as well, bringing thousands and thousands of people from around the world.

Imagine you were a simple farmer back in those days. Would you have dropped everything for a taste of gold, a chance at riches?

Published in: on 20th July, 2012 at 10:44 am  Comments (3)  
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